A client of mine recently asked, “How do I get the authority to be the accountant for dentists? Who can grant me that approval so I can start selling services to the niche I want to be in?”
I know this question might sound a bit simple, but the truth is no one will give you authority to pick a niche and sell services. It is 100 percent up to you, and only you, to define your niche and give yourself the authority to start selling services within that niche.
Okay, so as soon as you pick a niche and change your LinkedIn profile to state you're the accountant for [insert your niche here], then everything will be golden, right?
Well, not so fast. Defining a niche can be quite a tedious path if you don't know what you're doing.
Plus, if you're unsure of yourself in any way, you can go in circles trying to figure out which niche will work best for you.
Luckily, I have found a three-step process to help my clients define their niche and grab the authority to start selling services. It all starts at the beginning: Your skills.
Step 1: Start with the “List of 10” Process
When trying to define your key target audience to go after, the first step is to make a list of what you've done in the past.
Take out a sheet of paper and write down "List of 10" at the top. Proceed to make a list of the Top 10 for each of the below:
- List No. 1: Top 10 Skills You Have
- List No. 2: Top 10 Industries You Know
- List No. 3: Top 10 Market Needs and Desires You Know or Aware of
Think very hard about each item you place on your list. Essentially, we're trying to define where your skills, industry and market experience/knowledge merges together to create an awesome targeted niche.
Take a look at your list and highlight the Top 2 from each list and see how they come together to create a niche specifically for you.
Here’s a perfect example of how to define your niche. My top skill is digital marketing and sales training. My industry is accounting. The market needs are accountants learning how to sell.
Therefore, my business proposition is to teach accountants a skill I learned – digital marketing and sales – as the market desired it. Simple, clean, yet totally effective.
Now it’s your turn. Make sure to complete Step 1 before moving on to Step 2 as it will help you define more about who it is you want to target and why you have chosen that niche.
Step 2 - Profile Your Market
Let’s say you have landed on a niche from Step 1, but might not know everything there is to know about that specific niche.
Therefore, for the next step, I’m going to walk you through 10 market diagnosis questions to help you get a better handle on your target audience and what they're thinking about.
On that same piece of paper used in Step 1, list out answers to the following questions:
- What keeps them awake at night (your target niche)?
- What is your target niche afraid of?
- What are they angry about or better, who are they angry about?
- What are their Top 3 daily frustrations?
- What major trends are occurring in their lives, business or personal?
- What do they secretly admire the most (business or personal)?
- Is there a stereotype surrounding how they make decisions?
- Do they speak their own language to each other?
- Who else is selling something similar to them, and is dominating the market?
- Who else has tried to sell to them and why have they failed?
Again, the purpose of completing this step is to get inside the mind of your target niche.
As these questions start to scratch the surface, you're geared up to take on the final step in this three-step process to implement when defining your niche, creating a customer profile (or avatar).
Step 3: Create A Customer Avatar
A common mistake many people make is to create a customer avatar that is too broad and general.
Your avatar must speak to your ideal customer, aka your target niche, in a way that when they do come upon your website, it's almost like you've read their mind.
You've identified their pain points, fears, frustrations, desires and dreams and have a full understanding of what's going on for them.
In order to create a customer avatar, head to a new word document and write the name of your customer avatar (essentially the person who will wear your brand, inside and out).
Let’s use Sharon as our example of a CPA looking to learn how to sell and grow her accounting firm.
Begin by asking the general questions to help you define who your customer avatar will look like and identify with.
Start off with questions like:
- Where do they live?
- How old are they?
- What is their level of education?
- What have they accomplished?
Then, start to dive deeper into how your customer avatar defines themselves. What do they do? How do they spend their week? What do they do outside of work? Where do they get their news?
How much do they make? How do they feel about their job? What are their concerns in life? What is it about your product that matters to this person? How does it solve a need, ease a pain or make them feel good? How does it better their life?
What sorts of thoughts should go through this person’s head right before they decide to purchase your product? What is the “final straw” that makes them pull the trigger?
Answer each question until you have a full understanding of who and what your key customers look like. And there you go, you have defined your niche.
Now it’s time to get out there, help some people and close some freaking deals this week.
David Cristello is the founder and CEO of Jetpack Workflow. Launched in 2014, Jetpack Workflow believes that software can empower firms and practices to become more fun, profitable, and productive. Instead of getting lost in legacy technology, Jetpack was built using leading technology and was designed for usability for the firm owner and the team.